To better understand job rotation in the manufacturing industry, the team ompleted a systematic review asking the following questions: 1) How do job-rotation programs impact work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and related risk control for these MSDs, as well as psychosocial factors? and 2) How best should the job rotation programs be designed? We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, Business Source Premier, ISI Web of Knowledge, CINAHL, PsyINFO, Scopus, and SciELO databases for articles published in peer-reviewed journals. Eligible studies were examined by two independent reviewers for relevance (population of manufacturing workers, outcomes of musculoskeletal disorders, physical factors, psychosocial factors, and strategies used in job-rotation implantation) and methodological quality rating. From 10,809 potential articles, 71 were read for full text analysis. Of the 14 studies included for data extraction, two were non-randomized control trial studies, one was a case-control study, and 11 were cross-sectional comparisons. Only one, with a case-control design, was scored with good methodological quality. Currently, weak evidence exists supporting job rotation as a strategy for the prevention and control of musculoskeletal disorders.
Job rotation did not appear to reduce the exposure of physical risk factors; yet, there are positive correlations between job rotation and higher job satisfaction. Worker training has been described as a crucial component of a successful job-rotation program. The studies reported a range of parameters used to implement and measure job-rotation programs. More rigorous studies are needed to better understand the full impact of job rotation on production and health.